Breaking Bread Together
I've talked before about my rabbit friend, the one with the damaged back leg, who has been showing up outside my back door. As soon as I open the curtain or the door he moves toward the house, stopping occasionally to rise up on his back legs and look toward the house, sniffing the air with an aura of anticipation. I've been stepping out on the back porch stoop and holding a Ritz cracker in my hand. At first he stood carefully nearby, waiting for me to drop it. Then he got brave enough to approach, warily, and snatch it from my hand. Then I began holding it more firmly and he took a bite while I held it.
This morning I decided the polite and proper thing to do would be to share breakfast. So besides the Ritz cracker I brought a banana and a cup of coffee. I sat down on the stoop, coffee beside me, banana in one hand and Ritz in the other. He watched me with interest and caution. I took a bite of banana and with the other hand held out the cracker. He took it and moved back a couple paces, then began to eat. I ate, and carefully picked up the coffee cup and took a sip. He watched, but kept eating. When the cracker was gone, he sniffed in my direction and moved around a bit.
"Sorry," I said, "one cracker's all I've got." He almost seemed to understand. I'd finished the banana, so I simply sat and sipped coffee. He stood nearby for a couple minutes, then licked his front paws and began to wash his face with them. I sat, then he sat some more. Breakfast buddies. We'd broken bread together, and I like to think we shared something more than time and space.
I stood up, he moved a few steps back, and I opened the door. "Well, my gimpy friend," I said, "I suppose it's time we moved on with our respective days." I went inside and closed the door. I watched him through the window. He stared at the door for about a minute, then loped off, a bit unevenly as is his wont, and wandered off across the yard.
Until tomorrow, I hope, though I know it's a dangerous world out there, especially for a rabbit with only three good legs. But then every time I see the news, I know it's a dangerous world for all of us.
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